The Upside Down Life #3 – Poor In Spirit

Banquets, Bankruptcy, and The Hidden Benefits of Being Broke: The Counter-Intuitive Christ

by Gene Heacock

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5 :3

The Sermon on the Mount can be difficult to approach. There are 4 (basic) views:

  1. Literal ( Anabaptist)
  2. Liberal
  3. Existential and
  4. Dispensational

The approach will determine the outcome…

The Spirit of God will not contend with the spirit on man forever.

Jesus finished His message and people are amazed (see Matthew 7: 28). If you are not amazed, confused, frustrated, or angry today when I finish you probably have not heard Jesus words.

This is the first blush of the new wine of the taste of the new covenant. The Old Covenant was written on stone tablets. The New Covenant is written on hearts, the old external is exchanged for new internal. The old you gets pardoned, the new you gets power.

The old Moses goes up the new Christ comes down.

The Law has power to condemn. Christ gives grace that provides. Grace is not just pardon, it is power, it is provision.

OT 10 Commandments served a purpose and they still do but while they can prescribe they do not have power to transform. We warn against idolatry, encourage personal responsibility, impulse control appropriate boundaries, and motive of the heart. These are all good but they will not save nor will they transform. THE LAW WAS GIVEN TO POINT US TO CHRIST.

Jesus takes the law to a whole new level- amazed.

He uses laser beam precession to cut away flesh and performs a spiritual MRI using human imaging to do a MRI on our hearts…

IF you do not start poor by the time Jesus finishes you will be stripped naked, bankrupt and hungry for more.

Perhaps angry and confused  Jesus does “fingernails on the blackboard” many times anger, lust, revenge — look at texts chapters 5 and 6.

Jesus says that there are deep forces in your life that make you try to pay for your sins. We are internally conflicted – you judge don’t you?

Do you perfectly perform the judgement you make upon others? So you convict yourself and you know deep, deep down inside you deserve it…

Martin Luther said when we practice judgement we become the self accuser and self justifier simultaneously.

Jesus says that there are deep forces in your life that cry for justice, beauty, and self control but we come out unable to fulfill them. WE ARE POOR.

Jesus says there are deep forces of sexual impulses desires for revenge and retaliation and uncontrolled anger that cry out in our lives but we do not have the power to control them. WE ARE POOR.

Jesus teaches that there are deep grounds for your feelings of unworthiness guilt that cry our for judgement that say, WE ARE POOR.

In Matthew 5: 20 – unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pope Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, and Dr. Martin Luther King combined you will not have a chance of ever touching the door post of heaven, not the door post, not the mail box at the end of the drive, not even able to be in the same county, not even in the same state etc. etc…

The weight of your sin and mine is like a rope that ties us up with a weight that drags us down and a debt that we can never pay back. Have you heard we are close to being bankrupt as a nation? Do you know from God’s perspective we already are? WE ARE POOR.


We all come to God like Bernie Madoff sentenced to over 150 years, not owning anything, trying to pay back 62 billion dollars. Even our underwaer is a government issued. WE ARE POOR.

I am going to say something to you that will probably make you so angry you may not listen to the rest of what I will say today…I am so thankful that you have been privileged to go through all the struggles you have at SBF. God must be thrilled that there is somebody here who is broke and hungry for more. SBF has lost pastors, people, programs ,reputation visible success and a downward trend in the bank account…


Jesus says I can make a payment for you. Jesus tells us He holds eternal reserves on your behalf are you broke?

“…The way to become poor in spirit is to look at God. Read this Book about Him, read His law, look at what He expects from us, contemplate standing before Him. It is also to look at the Lord Jesus Christ and to view Him as we see Him in the Gospels. The more we do that the more we shall understand the reaction of the apostles when, looking at Him and something He had just done, they said, ‘Lord, increase our faith!’ Their faith, they felt, was nothing. They felt it was so weak and so poor. ‘Lord, increase our faith. We thought we had something because we had cast out devils and preached Thy word, but now we feel we have nothing; increase our faith. ~Martyn Lloyd-Jones, from “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount,” p. 42.

Jesus says I have a banquet prepared that is out of this world. Blessed are you when you are hungry (v.6).


My own translation: God’s people are just chillin, stress free spirituality, not controlled by fear or religious performance, or playing pretend because they are living in the new reality of life in the Spirit with in the kingdom of God.

We come to the text like Bernie Madoff  – POOR.

Poor: Greek Word PTOCHOS,

  1. Reduced to beggary, begging, asking alms
  2. Destitute of wealth, influence, position, honour
    1. lowly, afflicted, destitute of the Christian virtues and eternal riches
    2. helpless, powerless to accomplish an end
    3. poor, needy
  3. Lacking in everything – as respects their spirit: destitute of wealth of learning and intellectual culture (Greek Lexicon entry for Ptochos. The New Testament Greek Lexicon,

Blessed: Greek work MAKARIOS:

Matthew (reflecting Jesus’ thoughts) uses this word in a totally different way. It is not the elite who are blessed. It is not the rich and powerful who are blessed. It is not the high and mighty who are blessed. It is not the people living in huge mansions or expensive penthouses who are blessed. Rather, Jesus pronounces God’s blessings on the lowly: the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the meek, the mourning. Throughout the history of this word, it had always been the other people who were considered blessed: the rich, the filled up, the powerful. Jesus turns it all upside-down. The elite in God’s kingdom, the blessed ones in God’s kingdom, are those who are at the bottom of the heap of humanity.

Greek mind – the island Cyprus called Makaria, meaning it’s all you will ever need…

Ron Dun: We all say Jesus is all we need but we will never know that Jesus is all we need until Jesus is all we got. When we find that Jesus is all we got then we will find that Jesus is all we need.

This is not a foreign concept to the audience. This is OT understanding see Is 57:15

For thus says the high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
“I dwell on a high and holy place,
And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
And to revive the heart of the contrite.

Contrite – literally crushed, pulverized, ground like powder. God dwells with those kind of people.

Like David in Psalm 51 :17:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

A contrite heart his world and the law of God broke him to his core.

Jesus was an OT Jew and uses the same language in Matthew 5:3 – AMAZING!!! Sounds like POOR doesn’t it??? David says he is blessed in Psalm 34:6-8, 18.

Lord is it me? Spirit of God Spirit of Man? I am a poor example of the text, I work too hard and I am very fallen.

Two illustrations:  1) My- wife  in the coffee shop my response not kind, 2) Another pastor of FBC Foxboro, we could go on for days about me…am I alone in this??

For theirs is the kingdom of another reality. Barclay: poor is good hungry is good…

How do we Respond?? Gregg says, Bring it home to SBF?


What not to do. What they did OT Deuteronomy 5:27 WE CAN DO IT WE WILL DO ALL. Do not read the Sermon on Mount and respond as they did, rather say we cannot but Christ can through us.

Approach Scripture not as prescriptions for more activity to do things for God but rather as an invitation to delight and depend upon God TO LIVE THE SCRIPTURE THROUGH YOU.

Grace is not just pardon it is power. -John Piper


Allow Scripture to be an invitation into intimacy with God Himself.

Don Monstron Illustration written on the glass…STORY and application

The sermon on the monut is not a lst of rules and regulations but it is a description of the life we live when the Holy Spirit is having His way with us.  -Oswald Chambers


Declare personal spiritual bakruptcy

CHAPTER SEVEN NOT Chapter 11 or 13 for slavation how about for all of life?  Anger, control, lust, revenge, regret, worry, anxiety??

The King of the this new Kingdom says when you follow Me you must give Me your whole heart!! But I will take a broken one if you give me all the pieces…


Become a Poor Church on Purpose

Declare spiritual bankruptcy as a congregation as I said earlier there are deep grounds for your feelings of unwithiness, guilt and shame, but the good news?? There are deeper grounds for your forgiveness, holiness, and freedom.

What makes you hungry? What makes you feeling broke? What motivates the core of your being?

Spiritual Bankruptcy- A Contrite Spirit Corproate Dependence

Do you want to see the work that only God can do?  Then start being POOR.

Orlando Story Church that choose to make herself BROKE GODS SURPRISES

A Puritan prayer…

Cause me to be a mirror of thy grace, to show others the joy of thy service, May my lips be well-tuned cymbals sounding thy praise, Let a halo of heavenly-mindedness sparkle around me and a lamp of kindness sunbeam my path. Teach me the happy art of attending to things temporal with a mind intent on things eternal. Send me forth to have compassion on the ignorant and miserable. Help me to walk as Jesus walked, my only Saviour and perfect model, his mind my inward guest, his meekness my covering garb. Let my happy place be amongst the poor in spirit, my delight the gentle ranks of the meek. Let me always esteem others better than myself, and find in true humility an heirdom to two worlds. -Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett

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